Artist Phil America teams up with World Vision, ILO, United Nations ESCAP, United States Department of Labor and other human rights agencies work together on the Saphan Siang campaign for a solo show to present works representing migrant workers’ contributions in Thailand and the issues they face coming into the country. The immersive art exhibition includes a 16-channel video installation, a life-size interactive Thai fishing boat and other large-scale sculptures and archival photos from the ILO-IPEC. The show was held at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), from 16-21 December 2014 in celebration of International Migrants Day (18 December). The exhibition seeks to highlight and give voice to migrant workers’ experiences living and working in Thailand’s fishing communities.
About the works
The works, produced in 2014, include various large sculptural pieces, one of which being a life-sized Thai fishing boat commonly associated with slave labor in the seafood industry. After the exhibition the boat will be donated to fishermen and used in Thai waters. The boat will be painted white and visitors will have the opportunity to write messages of hope on the boat to migrants all across Thailand with provided paint pens. Along with the sculptures will be a 16-channel video installation on a large scaffolding sculpture giving voice to migrants from surrounding countries. The videos were filmed in different locations across Thailand by Phil America in October and November 2014. Also on display is archival photos. Child labour is a concern in the fishing and seafood processing communities of Thailand. The work of Raks Thai Foundation, partners of IPEC(International Programme of the Elimination of Child Labor), which is carried out among migrant communities is Khanom district, Nakorn Si Thammarat province was documented by photographer Aphiluck Puangakew in 2014.
Phil America (b. 1983) is a NYC and California-raised artist. He has lived throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Africa, concentrating on individual moments of freedom, most recently looking at the human relationship with class, gender and race. In his work he uses performance, photography, writing, video and sound installation and sculptures to seek a better understanding of his subjects. In 2014 he continued his focus on education, furthering his involvement with DEAR Burma, and is currently working with all 28 museum in Sacramento on a project to tie them together through art. Phil recently gave a TED talk, will give another in 2015 and spoke at various universities and events.
The only non-profit organization that produces public art projects and exhibitions throughout Asia while continuing to work in Europe, Australia and the Americas. Entirely self-funded and independent. Established in 2011 in Seoul, South Korea by Martin Schulze.
Opened in 2008, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) is a museum for the contemporary arts in central Bangkok. Originally named Bangkok Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art (BMOCA), the name was changed in 2008 before the opening. The centre aims to be a meeting place for artists and creatives as well as to provide cultural programmes for the community giving importance to cultural continuity from past to contemporary. It aims to open new grounds for cultural dialogue, networking, and create new cultural resources from both the public and the private sectors.
Saphan Siang Campaign
The Saphan Siang (Bridge of Voices) campaign promotes better understanding between Thais and migrant workers by increasing public awareness on the issues faced by migrant workers, their positive contribution to Thailand’s economy and society, and their right to equal protection under the law and in practical access to support services. The campaign seeks to achieve this goal by creating opportunities for interaction between Thais and migrants. Website: www.saphansiang.org The public is invited to attend the event and reflect on their own interactions with migrant workers and reflect on the contribution of migrant workers. Any Instagram photography with the hashtags #journeyofvoices or #saphansiang will be reposted on the official Journey_Of_Voices Instagram, creating a collaborative collection of the viewer’s look at the exhibition itself. Tweet at @SaphanSiang.